Sunday 30 June 2013

Singapore must do more to nurture talent: PM

More educational pathways to be created; city must remain vibrant place to live
By Aaron Low, The Straits Times, 29 Jun 2013

SINGAPORE has done well in grooming and developing its people, but will need to go further as talent is increasingly sought after in this globalised world, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

He said yesterday that Singapore must continue to develop every child to his or her full potential, while giving those with less resources every chance to catch up.

More educational pathways will also be created to accommodate the diverse range of interests among students here, and efforts will be made to build a strong Singapore core in the workforce, said Mr Lee.

Speaking at the opening of consumer giant Unilever's new global leadership centre Four Acres, Mr Lee noted that Singapore has been "focused on this (talent development) obsessively for a very long time".

This has resulted in advantages for the country such as its low unemployment, excellent international test scores among students and high demand for Singaporean workers in general.

"People are our only resource. We have made education, lifelong learning and talent development a national priority," he said.

But China and India are quickly trying to retain and attract talent, and Singapore must keep up, he said.

So, even as the Government makes improvements to its education system, Singapore has to remain an attractive place to live.

"Most importantly, we want to keep Singapore an exciting and vibrant city, a place where people want to live, want to work, want to play, and come back again and again," he said.

"So that talented Singaporeans ourselves will want to stay here, pursue new opportunities and create new successes and thus improve lives for all Singaporeans."

He also praised Unilever's strong partnership with Singapore, noting that it has grown from selling a few items here more than 50 years ago to expanding its operations into a global team here.

Its high-value operations also fit Singapore's knowledge-based economy, generating good jobs for Singaporeans, said Mr Lee.

He announced that the company had been awarded one of the highest national corporate honours, the Distinguished Partner in Progress, for its contributions to Singapore.

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